Like other houseplants, bromeliads grow best when given the most
light possible. Species differ in their light preferences, however, so
pick your plant to match the location where it will live. Bromeliads
with thin, green, often smooth-edged leaves (e.g. Vriesea, Tillandsia,
Guzmania, Neoregelia, Nidularium) prefer medium light. Those having
thick leaves with teeth along the edges and whitish markings (e.g.
Achmea, Billbergia) prefer high light. Those with grass-like leaves,
leaves heavily coated with silvery gray scales, and the succulent
varieties (e.g. Tillandsia, Dyckia, Hechtia, pineapple) do best if given
full sun for part or all of the day.
The rosette of most bromeliads forms a "cup" that will hold
rainwater in the bases of the leaves. Tap-water can be used to fill the
cup but rainwater is best. Water should be slightly acid (ph 6 to 6.5)
for best growth. The potting medium should be watered when it becomes
dry. For added beauty, give them a good bath once a week under the
faucet. Bromeliads mounted on bark, cork, or tree-fern slabs should be
misted with water 2 or 3 times per week. (Note: the white
"scaly" surface of the leaves is not to be wiped away - these
scales are special cells hat act like sponges with absorb moisture from
Bromeliads can be grown
without fertilizing. In fact, in order to maintain a compact form and
rich color, some (Neoregelias, Billbergias) should not be fertilized.
However, others (Tillandsias, Aechmeas, Guzmanias, Vrieseas)
benefit from regular fertilizing when they are in active growth.
There are special fertilizers for bromeliads, but an orchid fertilizer
is a good substitute. The Schultz or Peters bloom booster fertilizers
can be used but at only half the strength recommended on the label.
For plants which are watered by misting or submerging, fertilizer can be
added to the water.
When the plant is mature, it flowers once. The flowering period lasts
from a few weeks to 6 months, depending on the species. As the plant
matures, offshoots ("pups") develop, which will mature and
flower in 1 to 2 years. Offshoots, when they are half the size of the
parent, can be cut off the parent plant and planted in a porous medium
such as a mixture of peat-moss and perlite. The offshoots quickly take
root if they are firmly planted and the medium is kept evenly moist.
the S.E.Michigan Bromeliad NOW! Learn about the beautiful Bromeliad
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